With the BBC up for charter renewal next year, increasing attention is being paid to the manner in which the corporation conducts itself.
Things weren’t helped last week when a BBC historian claimed that Lord Howard, the chairman of the BBC governors from 1980-83, paid for a prostitute on the Orient Express with an expenses claim.
Now Robert Peston says that the BBC splashed out on a team of specialists to help him overcome his ‘eccentricities’ when he joined the corporation. ‘They sent me off for training to iron out my eccentricities,’ he tells the Radio Times. Alas, for both Peston and the licence fee payer footing the bill, the experts ‘failed completely’:
‘They hired various presentation specialists, all of whom have gone on to seek other careers, I’m sure, it was a total failure.’
On the bright side, the financial crash was just around the corner and Peston says that meant people stopped focussing on the way he spoke:
‘I had been moaning away about how the economic world as we knew it was about to come to an end because of all these banks taking these stupid risks – and lo and behold it happened. I got one or two decent stories, and suddenly people stopped obsessing about the way I said things and started to take an interest in what I was saying.’
In short, Peston says: ‘I owe everything to the crash.’ Well, that’s one person then.